John Chesson has graciously offered to share his story and images of his ongoing adaptive reuse project at the Samuel Noakes house, 101 West Cork Street/201 South Braddock Street with PHW. We will be releasing these stories through the PHW blog in the coming weeks, following the progress with virtual hardhat tours.
This time, we see some of the first coverings which will be applied to the exposed walls, a foam barrier. Insulation is one of the key ways to make an existing building more energy efficient. In general, this much stripping of wall coverings would be too much hassle, cost, and loss of historic fabric to make insulating masonry walls worthwhile. Since so much of the building has been stripped, the insulation is sensible to add at this point in the project.
If you live in an older home and are considering upgrading your HVAC and/or adding more energy-efficient insulation, you should refer to the National Park Service’s Technical Preservation Briefs #3: Improving Energy Efficiency in Historic Buildings and #24: Heating, Ventilating, and Cooling Historic Buildings. The National Trust for Historic Preservation also has links to more resources on insulation. In general, it is less invasive and less likely to cause hidden damage to upgrade and maintain existing systems, utilize the historic ventilating systems in place, insulate areas with exposed structural members like attics and basements, add storm windows, and weatherstrip and caulk openings. Improperly applied insulation techniques will do more harm than good in an older home by holding moisture and causing rot, structural damage, and exterior paint failure.
Work also continues in a location we have not seen for a while, the barbershop area at Braddock Street level. Some of the previous creative uses for the space, like plumbing, air conditioning units, and lighting, will be better addressed during the renovation to make the most of the commercial area.